Liralen's Reviews > Otherbound

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
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's review
Mar 17, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, lgbtq, first-reads, ya, z-2014, reviewed

Nolan has it rough. His parents struggle to pay for his epilepsy medication -- and he can't tell them that he's not epileptic, because the truth is much stranger. He lost part of a leg when he was younger as a result of his not-epilepsy. He can't maintain a normal life.

Instead, every time he closes his eyes, Nolan sees Amara's world.

Amara has it, arguably, even rougher. Her tongue was cut out years ago -- she's a slave -- and she's constantly on the run with Jorn, the man who rules her, and Cilla, the princess she serves. Jorn sometimes leaves her be; sometimes he is brutal. Cilla can die from even the tiniest cut, and Amara must take on Cilla's injuries -- and much worse -- to prevent that.

The book has a lot going for it. Queer characters, characters of colour, characters with disabilities -- all of which are describing, but not defining, factors. Amara is in something of a relationship when the book opens, but it's a realistic one, a relationship born of situation rather than Twu Wuv. Nolan is neither superstar jock nor arty drama boy; both he and Amara are complex, fully realised characters with flaws as well as strengths.

But the point when I knew I was fully on board with this book came about halfway though, when I realised that I had no idea how it was going to end. I know that doesn't sound like much, but I read a lot, and a lot of YA, and much of it is very, very predictable. Here I could be reasonably certain that they were going to figure it out, one way or another -- but I didn't know how, or at what cost. When romance flared up, it wasn't clear whether it was sustainable.

I did find the climax a bit hard to follow in places, as they figure out so much in such a short span of time. But there's great worldbuilding -- the kind where you don't know every detail of the world, but you know that the author does, and she's giving you enough to go on but leaving out the stuff that's superfluous to the story. I'm not usually one much for fantasy (science fiction? Not sure what's most accurate here), but I was really pleasantly surprised.

I received a free copy of this book via a Goodreads giveaway.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
March 17, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
March 17, 2014 – Shelved
March 17, 2014 – Shelved as: fiction
March 17, 2014 – Shelved as: lgbtq
March 17, 2014 – Shelved as: first-reads
March 17, 2014 – Shelved as: ya
April 15, 2014 – Shelved as: z-2014
April 18, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed

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